In 2010, the Benjamin Center at SUNY New Paltz conducted a study of volunteerism in Ulster County and identified 66,000 residents who volunteer their time, contributing the equivalent of about $400 million in wages to the functioning of their communities. It appears that Woodstock is the only town in the U.S. that holds a Volunteers Day, in which the public is invited to attend in order to thank and honor volunteers.
“There are some events that attempt to recruit more volunteers,” said Sam Magarelli, who has been helping to organize the annual Woodstock event since it began in 2005. “But this is different. It’s a party that just celebrates the volunteers.”
Andy Lee Field will be dressed with hundreds of balloons and three tents as Woodstockers gather on Saturday, August 17, with lunch served from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the adjoining Mescal Hornbeck Community Center. Music will start at 2:15 p.m., headlined by The Cupcakes, and will move outside to the field at 7 p.m. for Rennie Cantine’s Woodstock Guitar Festival, leading up to the 9 p.m. (or so) grand fireworks display.
The event, which is supported by donations from local businesses, will honor hundreds of present and past volunteers from over 70 organizations: town government committees, emergency services, arts groups, social service organizations, and more. All volunteers will receive free food, donated by area restaurants, and their children can enjoy the kids’ activities, such as face painting, jugglers, and giant bubble demos, for free. Musical entertainment is free for all attendees, but guests who are not volunteers must pay $8 for a plate of food and $5 for the kids’ activities, with discounts for multiple children.
“It’s clear the volunteers, because of the kind of people they are, do this from the goodness of hearts and are not asking to be thanked,” said Magarelli. “But the community shouldn’t take them for granted. And it doesn’t have to be just Woodstock. We’re encouraging other towns to have their own volunteer days.”
With the polarization and divisiveness of the current political climate, Magarelli sees the party as a chance to experience “an oasis of good will. In times of trouble and controversy, we can be reminded of just how many wonderful people we have in our communities.”
Volunteers Day schedule
On Saturday, August 17, lunch will be served from 2 to 5 p.m., at the Mescal Hornbeck Community Center, 56 Rock City Road, Woodstock.
2:15 p.m. Pops and the Weasels: blues, contemporary songwriters, jazz improvisation with Tom “Pops” Colello, Nathan Brenowitz, Dave Ron Mason, Dominic Caragiulo
3:20 p.m. The Cupcakes: acoustic, Americana, and folk/traditional music by trio Lyn Hardy, Janice Hardgrove and Ellie Wininger
4:30 p.m. beBhakti Band: classic pop and original songs blended with Indian yoga rhythms, melodies and chants, with cello, hammered dulcimer, djembe, dumbek, kalimba, and other instrument, performed by Choi Fairbanks, Lauren Magarelli and Paul Juba Mueller.
7:00 p.m. The Woodstock Guitar Festival, held outdoors at Andy Lee Field, behind the community center: local musicians with longtime Woodstock roots, including Sabrina Miller and the Gems, featuring Rennie Cantine with Michael Colletti on bass and Michael Minervini on drums
8:00 p.m. Presentation of the annual Alf Evers Award to an outstanding volunteer
9:00 p.m. The Greatest Fireworks show in the Hudson Valley presented by the Woodstock Volunteer Fire Department.
To Support Volunteers Day – A Day of Gratitude, send checks to WaiV, P.O. Box 1291, Woodstock, NY 12498
The Woodstock Fire Department will present its annual Fireworks display, at dusk (just after 9 p.m. usually), Saturday, August 17 at the Andy Lee Field, Rock City Rd.
Join the Fire Department for a fabulous fireworks display to cap off the f un festive family Woodstock Volunteer’s Day. Be a part of this wonderful Woodstock Community Tradition.
Bring a blanket, lawn chairs, the whole family.
Donations are needed and appreciated. Please consider making a donation.